Navy chief vows to continue defending Phl sovereignty
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Navy sees “real and present” threats to the country’s territorial integrity.

Speaking at the Navy’s 116th anniversary in Palawan, Navy chief Vice Adm. Jesus Millan said they are shifting their focus to territorial defense. 

“The menace of various threats to national security and territorial integrity is real and present,” he said.

“The geopolitical landscape changes with the latest developments and volatile situation in the region.

“But the Navy commits to remain steadfast to surmount the odds and meet the expectations of our people,” he added.

Millan said the Army’s gains in internal security would allow the Navy to protect the country’s territory.

“With the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)’s relative success in Internal Security Operations, the strategic direction for our Navy today is to shift to its territorial defense role,” he said.

Millan said Naval Station Carlito Cunanan in Ulugan Bay must be upgraded as it is facing the West Philippine Sea.

“We need to build mission essential facilities like boat houses, hangars, training facilities, additional living quarters and other necessities so we can adapt to the tempo of their operations,” he said.

“The Navy leadership knows that this cannot be accomplished overnight. But with the help of our President, we are confident that our dreams will not remain as dreams.”

Speaking at the event, President Aquino thanked the Navy for dedication to its mission despite limitations and challenges.

“Despite the limited capabilities of our uniformed men, I never heard you say ‘Sir, we can’t do it; we lack capability here’,” he said.

“The truth is I have confidence in your decisions and I am confident that you will attain your objectives because our armed forces are strong. My appeal to you is this: I hope you do not change.”

Aquino said the Navy plays a vital role as the links of the country’s islands depend on the sea.

“It is but appropriate for the state to take care of and strengthen you, soldiers who also care for our entire nation,” he said.

Aquino said holding the Navy anniversary in Palawan is meaningful as Naval Forces West (Navforwest) based in the province patrols the West Philippine Sea.

“The upgrading of our equipment here translates to strengthening efforts to secure our territory,” he said.

“Every peso allotted to this station is equivalent to uplifting the national dignity and the security of our people.”

Cunanan naval station is near Oyster Bay, an area facing the West Philippine Sea and one of the sites that the military wants to develop.

The government has allotted P500 million to develop the Ulugan Bay base, including P313 million to improve the pier, harbor and support facilities at Oyster Bay.

 

Contributions

 Meanwhile, Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon expressed confidence that contributions made by the civilian community in the island would bolster the country’s claim over the area.

Bito-onon was awarded by the Navy with a certificate, citing him and his constituents for their invaluable and continuing support in transforming Pag-Asa Island into a vibrant civilian community at the new Navforwest headquarters in Barangay Macarascas.

The area is also being developed to accommodate visiting US Navy warships under the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. – With Jaime Laude

AQUINO ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BARANGAY MACARASCAS BUT THE NAVY ENHANCED DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT INTERNAL SECURITY OPERATIONS NAVY OYSTER BAY ULUGAN BAY WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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